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[dee-vee-uh nt] /ˈdi vi ənt/
deviating or departing from the norm; characterized by deviation:
deviant social behavior.
a person or thing that deviates or departs markedly from the accepted norm.
Origin of deviant
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin dēviant- (stem of dēviāns, present participle of dēviāre to deviate), equivalent to Latin dē- de- + vi(a) road, way + -ant- -ant
Related forms
nondeviant, adjective, noun
Can be confused
deviant, deviate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for deviant
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Under the circumstances, deviant behavior could not be tolerated.

    The Status Civilization Robert Sheckley
  • People whose greatest crime might have been lack of enthusiasm feared that they might be suspected of deviant political beliefs.

    Area Handbook for Romania

    Eugene K. Keefe, Donald W. Bernier, Lyle E. Brenneman, William Giloane, James M. Moore, and Neda A. Walpole
  • It became official record, and my experience was the deviant.

    What Need of Man? Harold Calin
  • There's nothing shameful, deviant or weird about either of them.

    Little Brother

    Cory Doctorow
  • It smelled the outpouring of certain glands, tasted a deviant brain wave.

    Watchbird Robert Sheckley
  • When a person is judged by social standards to be deviant and even evil, however, it is difficult to summon caring.

    Nursing as Caring Anne Boykin
British Dictionary definitions for deviant


deviating, as from what is considered acceptable behaviour
a person whose behaviour, esp sexual behaviour, deviates from what is considered to be acceptable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for deviant

c.1400, from Late Latin deviantem (nominative devians), present participle of deviare "turn aside," from Latin phrase de via, from de "off" (see de-) + via "way" (see via). The noun meaning "one that deviates" is from late 15c.; in the sexual sense, from 1952; also deviate (n.), recorded since 1912.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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deviant in Medicine

deviant de·vi·ant (dē'vē-ənt)
Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society. n.
One that differs from a norm, especially a person whose behavior and attitudes differ from accepted social standards.

de'vi·ance or de'vi·an·cy n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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